I just posted a poem about ‘home’; I thought I’d write something about it. Where I got the inspiration from; why I feel so trapped here.
I’m from a small town called Immingham; it’s small, industrial and culturally isolated. The politest way I can describe it is as about fifteen years behind the rest of the western world. I’m speaking culturally, socially. At the risk of pissing off quite a few people (because I have friends and relatives here who sometimes read my blog), the people here are so ignorant of the world. There’s barely anyone I can have a discussion with about interesting topics. I try but people either deliberately miss the point or just don’t get what I’m talking about.
Example: A few days ago a relative shared a post on Facebook of an overweight woman in leggings, with the caption ‘Why is she wearing leggings?’ The implication being that fat girls shouldn’t go out in anything tight. I got a little irritated and asked why people think they have a right to tell others how to dress; that I believed that sharing the post was condoning bullying and mocking people for the superficial. I wanted to start a real discussion about body shaming and cultural expectations. Didn’t happen. It degenerated in to insults from my relatives, me attempting to make my point clear, and my sister having to step in and mediate.
I know Facebook isn’t the best place to have intelligent conversations, I’m aware of that. I can’t ignore things anymore. I can’t ignore the casual assumptions of what is ‘normal’, prejudices and ignorance fogging up the atmosphere around me. When I say that people are ignorant of the world I don’t mean that they are uneducated. I mean that they are insulated from the world, it doesn’t impinge on their reality. The whole of their mental landscape is Immingham and the surrounding areas. Outside – anything that doesn’t happen in the area/is a part of the local cultural milieu – scares people.
I know this is true because that’s how I used to be.
I went to university ignorant and afraid. I came home slightly less ignorant but still afraid. The exposure to the world afforded by university and the people I met there, opened a small crack, slid the door ajar. The people I’ve met since have thrown the door wide open, blown away the cobwebs and started filling the palace of my mind with information. I still have plenty of room for more though. The palace gets bigger every time something is added, it stretches. Maybe, one day, like elastic it’ll snap back in to place, or it might just keep expanding like the universe, or maybe it’ll be like a jumper that’s been stretched out. Either way, it’ll never go back to being the way it was before.
I noticed when I first came home that I felt out of place. In the last ten years that dislocation has grown more obvious and uncomfortable. I don’t feel comfortable in Immingham anymore. I used to wear it like a second skin, now it feels like a cage. It’s a cage I need to get out of before it buries me alive. Of course I want to be buried here, it’s where my family are, I just wish they’d wait until I was dead first.
So I’m going. I’m leaving this place. As soon as I get a job away from here I’m out of here.